Modern Cloth Nappies - making the switch

How do you integrate sustainable practices into your life? We would love to know. If you have a story to share, please head to our Green Living Guide and contact Tracey. The Biome Blog Program allows you to tell us all about your healthy harmonious lifestyle choices and possibly inspire others in the broader Biome community. The following story is from Amy Hughes, a mum entering the world of blogging for the first time. Read on to hear Amy's story...

Modern Cloth Nappies - making the switch

Modern cloth nappies have become a viable alternative to disposable nappies for all parents. Both affordable and readily sourced, there has never been a better time to make the switch. But doing so can be daunting and if you are one of those parents that is "cloth curious" but apprehensively so, then I assure you, you are not alone and this is for you!

I have two children, one is 14 and the other is ten months, and let me tell you, the world of cloth nappies has expanded rapidly over the last 14 years. With my first child I spent hours upon hours upon .., well you get the point, soaking, washing, hanging, drying, folding traditional cloth nappies. Needless to say, a family holiday, which required me to use disposables for three weeks, quickly put an end to my idealistic dreams of the cloth. It was just so hard and disposables gave me my life back! So that was the end of that. When my second child came along 14 years later, I was older, wiser and none-too fussed about going back to the servitude of my washing machine. But when some beautiful and well-meaning friends gifted me a sample of cloth nappies I promised I would try them out. Now these cloth nappies were nothing like the old squares! It took me four months to pluck up the courage to use them. What it really came down to in the end was the desire to reduce the amount of waste I was creating. Did you know that over two billion disposable nappies make their way to landfill each year in Australia?! (source – Australian Science 2014) That fact alone was enough impetus for me to make the switch. But do these new cloth nappies really work, I hear you ask? Well the short answer is: yes! But it definitely takes a bit of practice and an understanding of what you are working with. Don't be afraid friends, because I have some simple tips to help you on your way!

Tips to make it work–

  • Try all the nappies! – if you can, find a cloth nappy consultant to come to your house and fit the right type of nappy for you and your baby. There is so much out there and not all cloth nappies are created equal.
  • Get to know your washing machine – on a deep and personal level. Read the instruction booklet (if you still have it!) and try out those settings you never looked at before. You will be given detailed washing instructions when you purchase your cloth nappies, but ultimately with a bit of trial and error you will figure out what works best for you.
  • At wash time, use natural detergents. For one thing, the nappies don't need harsh chemicals to get clean (see my point about sunlight below!). Also, we want to avoid chemicals that can break down the fibres of the nappies or leave residues, both of which will reduce the absorbency.
  • Hang your nappies in the sun – Sunlight has an almost magical ability to remove any residual stains, try it! You will be as amazed as I was.
  • When out of the home, always take a wet bag or two with you. Storing wet nappies in plastic bags is less than ideal. Wetbags are made of polyurethane laminate (PUL) meaning the bags hold the wet nappies while still allowing them to breath.

Don't be discouraged! – It can be a little daunting to make the switch but I promise you it gets easier and before you know it you'll be telling anyone who will listen how much you love your modern cloth nappies! Ultimately, like anything with parenting, you have to do what is right for you, your family and your little one. If you choose to use cloth nappies only at home, on weekends, during the day or whatever works for you, then you are reducing the amount of waste you are sending to landfill and that's fantastic! Every little thing you do to consciously make a difference is a step towards a more sustainable world.

Sources and further reading Australian Science 2014 Babybeehinds 2015

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